The tax chamber of the Hainaut Court, Mons Division, on Monday imposed millions of euros in fines on companies and individuals involved in the manufacture of several million cigarettes in Belgium that were not declared to the Customs and Excise service.
Prison sentences were also handed down, some of them suspended.
The cigarettes were manufactured and stored in a warehouse in Gosselies that was placed under surveillance in Spring 2022. In May, there were more than five million cigarettes stored in Gosselies, while another warehouse was discovered in a furniture factory in Anderlecht.
Trucks were loaded with pallets of cigarettes. One of them was checked near Jabbeke and found to be carrying 16 pallets of cigarettes manufactured in Belgium but not declared to the tax authorities.
On Monday, the company that ran the Gosselies depot was fined €36,710,000. Its head was fined the same amount, but also received a one-year prison sentence.
Another company was fined €36,710,000, along with a suspended sentence for the amount exceeding €36,600,000. All manufacturing and transport equipment was confiscated.
The other accused were fined €36,710,000 and received suspended sentences of six months, nine months and two years for the amount exceeding €36,600,000.